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Considering Pedroncelli’s favorable track record with Petite Sirah and that Petite Sirah has been a staple in the family’s vineyards since the early 1900s, it should come as no surprise that John Pedroncelli has once again hit a home run with this varietal. Sourced from two family vineyards, whose vines average more than 60 years of age, the 2007 Pedroncelli Dry Creek Valley Family Vineyards Petite Sirah is profoundly deep purple in color and delightfully aromatic. From start to finish juicy blackberry, dark cherry, chocolate, coffee, and Asian spice tones delight the nose and grace the thirsty palate with hedonistic pleasure. And although powerful and robust, this Petite Sirah contains no searing tannins, nor can one attest to the wine’s 14.3% level of alcohol until it has slipped surreptitiously down the gullet. On the finish, a smooth patina of oak frames the wine’s generous fruit, adding depth and length to an already magical potion. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest allowing Pedroncelli’s exemplary Petite Sirah 20-30 minutes of aeration before serving at cool room temperature (no more than 66ºF). Although beautiful now, this big boned beauty is sure to improve in bottle for several more years, so why not stash a bottle or two away for another day?
Petite Sirah is a wonderful wine to pair with flavorful foods. Some of the Pedroncelli family’s favorite pairings with their 2007 Petite Sirah include Beef Lasagne; Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans; and Rosemary Pasta with Black Olives and Carrots. To that we would add Grilled Italian Sausages with Peppers and Onions; Slow Cooked Barbecued Spare Ribs; and Pasta Fresca, made with fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, vine ripe tomatoes, olive oil, and herbs. Brick oven cooked pizzas and calzones as well as hearty chicken dishes with Mediterranean herbs and spices complement this wine, too. Traditional risottos with cheese, mushrooms, truffles, or complex sauces provide other excellent to Pedroncelli’s masterful Petite Sirah. Enjoy!
Since 1927, the two constants at the Pedroncelli estate in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley have been family and wine. Started by Italian immigrant John Pedroncelli, Sr., the Pedroncelli’s pre-Prohibition property is located 25 miles from the Pacific where warm days and cool nights provide the ideal climate for grapes to ripen slowly and fully.
John, Sr.’s namesake, son John, grew up on the family property and has been principal winemaker at Pedroncelli since 1948. John’s brother Jim was actually born in the winery’s offices, which were formerly the family’s home. Jim has overseen marketing and sales at the winery since 1955. Jim only half jokingly tells visitors “I was born in this office and I will probably die here as well.” In addition to Jim and John, their children and children-in-laws all work in various capacities at the winery, as the family happily watches a fourth generation buzz about the property. In short, Pedroncelli remains an authentic family-owned and run winery. Rare as it may now be, the Pedroncelli family is one California family that has not yet traded in its name or sold its soul to a corporate conglomerate.
Obviously, stability and tradition play important roles for the Pedroncelli family as it collectively pursues its shared passion for producing quality wines. Yet, Pedroncelli’s vineyards have only gently expanded to 105 acres from the property’s original 90 acres, and the brothers continue to seek innovative means of improving production and quality, without compromising the family tradition or expanding rapidly beyond their control. Instead, the family highlights specific vineyards in the winery’s Vineyard Selection Series (i.e. Dry Creek Valley’s Bench and Family Vineyards), a decision that allows the brothers to pursue their family’s commitment to quality. This practice also provides a glimpse of the guided, practical approach that this family has to marketing.
Lovingly made, Pedroncelli wines are known for their consistent quality from vintage to vintage: they always exhibit rich fruit flavors, layered balance, and a readiness to drink upon release. Above enjoying the quality of their wines, however, partaking in a glass of Pedroncelli wine is like becoming a member of the family and sharing in their love of wine.
Red grape varietals predominate at Pedroncelli. Merlot, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, and Zinfandel are just a few of Pedroncelli’s finest Sonoma County offerings. Sauvignon Blanc is a real success at Pedroncelli, too, and it remains one of the winery’s fairer claims to fame.
Petite Sirah is a grape that is also known as Durif. It is named for Francois Durif, the French botanist who first identified the grape in the late 19th century in the south of France. Petite Sirah is a result of a natural chance cross pollination between Syrah and the French grape Peloursin. Durif or Petite Sirah (the names are used interchangeably) is rarely cultivated today in its native France. However, this adaptable grape has gained considerable favor elsewhere, with California its main proponent. It is increasingly popular in Australia and Israel, too, as the grape is well-suited to a dry, Mediterranean climate. Although called Petite Sirah, there is nothing petite about Petite Sirah, except the size of its berries. Petite Sirah produces rich, powerful, and often tannic wines that are typically at their best within the first 5 or 6 years of life. The finest versions can, however, benefit from extensive bottle aging and live for up to two decades or more.
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